GENEVA, 13th May, 2016 (WAM) – International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports an estimated 188,075 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea in 2016 through 11 May, arriving in Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Spain.

Latest fatalities stand at 1,357. By comparison, deaths in 2015 through 11 May on all Mediterranean routes totalled 1,792, which is approximately 32 percent higher than 2016’s total thus far.

Over the past two days around 800 migrants have been rescued on the Central Mediterranean route between North Africa and Italy, including Egyptians, Sudanese, Somalis and a number of migrants from the Comoro Islands.

Migrant arrivals in Italy for all of 2016, including those still at sea scheduled to arrive in Italian ports today, are close to 32,000, according to IOM Rome spokesperson Flavio di Giacomo. That compares to around 47,500 through the first five months of 2015.

“We are seeing that migrant flows have remained more or less stable during the first five months of 2016, compared to the same period last year,” said Di Giacomo. “The top nationalities arriving in Italy are also similar – mainly Sub-Saharan Africans.”

Initial reports suggested that the 800 migrants rescued over the past two days on the Central Mediterranean route included some 200 Syrians and Iraqis. Both nationalities used this route to reach Europe in 2015, but have been largely absent during 2016, preferring to travel through Turkey, Greece and the Balkans.

But this morning (13/5), IOM staff monitoring their arrival in Italy reported that there were in fact just two passengers who claimed to be Syrians. These individuals may have been long-term residents of Egypt.

Despite a sharp drop in departures of Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans from Turkey to Greece, IOM has yet to see any evidence that these nationalities are responding to the closure of the Balkan route by returning to the Central Mediterranean route and trying to reach Italy via Egypt or Libya.

Over the past two days around 800 migrants have been rescued on the Central Mediterranean route, including Egyptians, Sudanese, Somalis and a number from the Comoro Islands. Migrant arrivals to Italy for all of 2016, including those still at sea scheduled to arrive in Italian ports today, are close to 32,000 estimates IOM Rome spokesman Flavio di Giacomo. That compares to around 47,500 through the first five months of 2015.

WAM/tfaham